Towards the tail-end of the highly dynamic and evolutionary decade that was the 2010s, the underlying alternative music landscape began to enter what was then one of its most daring and forward-thinking periods that we had seen up to that point. The scene as it stood began to saturate itself in the ideals of the Internet age more than it had ever done in the past, with artists putting on a far more transparent image as far as their artistry was concerned, along with combining sentimental visuals with their far more passionate and experimental sounds respectively.
Though this period has come and gone as far as how it stood in the aforementioned years gone by, artists at the forefront of that movement have taken this new decade with a new sense of approach and nuance in regards to progressing their still ever-so-ambitious creative goals and aspirations.
Among these incredible acts was and still is Harry Teardrop, who solidified his status as a forerunner of this period with his EP 1000 Backyard Pools in May of 2019 — a genre-blending project of all things indie music and beyond that certainly put the greater online music scene at the time onto his unmistakable remarkable talents. But that project was the last piece of music he had given the world for over a year, and in looking back on that time over a year and a half ago now with fresh eyes, so much has changed within not just the overall music world, but the entire world itself all the same.
Though the world sorely missed Harry’s outstanding work during this period, it provided the ideal amount of time for his unique approach to his art to further develop and form into something completely new, and much better at that. And it is safe to say he has completely capitalized in a manner that only he could ever do, as his new EP $2 Bill features what can only be described as two masterful alternative offerings in “Ryley” and “Above or Below” — the former track having an accompanying video that essentially encapsulates this momentous moment that music fans have been so patiently waiting for during his lengthy break.
Leading into a new era for the young phenom, these two tracks essentially serve as a small taste for a very, very bright future ahead. Getting to that point is the obvious next step, but how he progressed towards these incredible offerings is something of an entirely different story.
Your long break between the release of 1000 Backyard Pools and $2 Bills contrasts pretty heavily with the rapid release schedules of most artists today. Why did you take this approach?
So basically, I’ve been working on a bigger project since October of 2019, and these two songs are kinda just two tracks that didn’t fit what I was going for on that project. But I still wanted to put these two songs out, I just didn’t realize that it was gonna take 6 more months to do what I wanted with them.
What exactly was the inspiration for all that $2 Bill stands for?
Over quarantine in like April or so, Drake Li and I were thinking about marketing plans for the release, and we both wanted something physical to go along with the music. That’s where the actual bills in the video come from. The “$2 Bill” concept was just something that Drake threw out as an homage to The Strokes who played a concert at a venue with the same name.
What was the most difficult part of going with this less-taken route as far as your release schedule is concerned?
Nowadays, I’m really trying to make a better effort of not getting into my own head about things, and like these two songs took so long because I was just mulling over every single little detail. I need to step away from that, and if anything else, this was just a reminder to myself to not take too long with things. I definitely need to let myself work without being too hyperconscious over everything.
Everything about you, from your visuals to your sound and approach itself, has seemed to develop in some incredible ways since your last release as well. How have you seen yourself grow since then in this long period of time?
When I came out with 1000 Backyard Pools, I think I was very eager back then, and I think my personality has really changed since that time, too. With the (musical) climate being so singles-based today, I just had a realization that this was just not how I wanted to work. I really just like to take my time with stuff; I’m very much quality over quantity.
Were there any external factors outside of just your mindset alone that prompted this development?
Earlier this year, we were in the process of negotiating this distribution deal for like 10 songs and a budget for everything, which was really enticing at the time. But there was something about the whole process that didn’t feel right to me, and walking away from something like that was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my career up to that point. That really shaped my view on how I do things now, to do everything the way I want to do it. I think it’ll be worth it in the end.
Does this approach lean towards being more of a challenge for you, or one that is more self-fulfilling?
It is for sure a challenge, like definitely. Constantly I’m just trying to remind myself not to compare myself to other people. I think anyone who’s 20 and is working towards their goals can relate to that, even if you’re not an artist putting stuff out all the time. Like with me, most of the people who are often placed next to me that are killing it the most are my peers and mutuals, so I’m really just stoked to see people at our age affecting the music industry in the way that we do.
What kinds of music-oriented aspects contributed to this development?
The music parts have all been really natural. It’s been influenced by my personal life and the music that I listen to all-around. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become a lot more open-minded with the kinds of music I listen to. I’m really just still trying to find my sound though, like both of these two new songs sound different from each other, and I’m totally okay with that right now because it’s super fun for me to do. With my upcoming project though, I really want to hone in on a more cohesive sound, but for now, I’m cool with just experimenting and seeing what sticks.
The music world right now is also in a state of trying to identify what the “next big sound” is going to be moving into this new decade, so how do you anticipate yourself taking advantage of that?
That’s something that I think about a lot. I always wonder where I really fit in terms of “a seat at the table,” but the place I feel most comfortable with is my most direct peers — people like James Ivy, Instupendo, like the people I actually hang out with and see on a day to day basis. That’s where I feel most at home. But I would love with this next project to put a stamp on my own sound and see where it goes, similar to how someone like Jean Dawson his with his recent stuff.
Do you ever worry about how people may perceive your “work-in-progress” approach to creating and coming out with content?
No doubt, it was literally something I was just talking about with my girlfriend leading up to the release. I was worried about how people would enjoy all of this and if they would see it as being “too left-field” for me. That’s definitely something I’m insecure about, but I also think it’s a good sign too, because it means that I’m challenging myself in order to grow more and more.
And with what you’ve come through with based on your recent releases, you have certainly made your mark in that very way. But how do you see yourself taking what you’ve learned from these releases and going forward with your next big project?
A big part of it is just being able to compartmentalize. With $2 Bill, I just wanted to come out with something attention-grabbing and entertaining and that’s it. But what comes next should definitely be something that people are able to really sit down with for a while. My end goal is to just create stuff that is perceived in any way it wants to be, and that’s something that takes a lot of practice to really perfect.